By Rusty Marks
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Highways officials, contractors and trade association representatives can’t say exactly how many jobs will be created by Gov. Jim Justice’s almost $3 billion road construction program. But they insist they want as many of the jobs to go to West Virginians as possible.
State Highways Commissioner Tom Smith, Contractors Association of West Virginia Director Mike Clowser and Affiliated Construction Trades Director Steve White held a panel discussion on the status of the road projects Thursday at a symposium hosted by the West Virginia Press Association.
Smith said the road construction program will be paid for by a combination of traditional bonds, bonds paid for by increases in state fees approved by the Legislature in 2017 and a massive bond sale approved by state voters in October.
“You’re going to see lots of things started once the weather turns,” Smith said.
He said many early road projects will address about 700 miles of secondary roads that have been neglected during the state’s recent budget crisis.
Clowser said the state’s sagging construction industry is already beginning to rebound with the promise of the roads program. …
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